Maggie Chapman

Maggie Chapman (born 27 June 1979) is a Zimbabwe Rhodesia-born Scottish politician and lecturer[1] who is a Scottish Green Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for North East Scotland. She was co-convenor of the Scottish Greens from November 2013 to August 2019, serving with Patrick Harvie, and was the party's lead candidate for the 2019 European election.[2]

Maggie Chapman

Official portrait, 2021
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for North East Scotland
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
Assumed office
6 May 2021
Co-convenor of the Scottish Greens
In office
November 2013  1 August 2019
Serving with Patrick Harvie
Preceded byMartha Wardrop
Succeeded byLorna Slater as co-leader
Councillor, City of Edinburgh Council
In office
3 May 2007  June 2015
ConstituencyLeith Walk
Lord Rector of the University of Aberdeen
Assumed office
April 2015
Preceded byMaitland Mackie
Personal details
Born (1979-06-27) 27 June 1979 (age 41)
Salisbury, Zimbabwe Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe)
Political partyScottish Greens
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
Stirling University

She was a councillor for the Leith Walk ward of The City of Edinburgh Council from 2007 to 2015 and represented the Scottish Greens on the Smith Commission for further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament.

Chapman was the Rector of the University of Aberdeen, having been elected in 2014, and again in 2018. Her term ended on the 31 March 2021.

She was the lead Green candidate for the North East region at the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, and was elected as one of eight Green MSPs.[3]

Early life and education

Chapman was born in 1979 in Salisbury, Zimbabwe Rhodesia.[4] Her family had moved from South Africa in 1978 for her father to take up the post of director at the college of music.[4][5] She grew up there, educated at a mixed-race school, with the country having achieved independence from the United Kingdom as the Republic of Zimbabwe whilst she was a baby.[4] Her mother was a nurse who worked as a theatre sister and midwife.[4]

Chapman moved to Scotland to study Zoology at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 2001.[6] She went on to complete a Master's degree in Environmental Management at the University of Stirling in 2003, then returned to Edinburgh University to study for a PhD in Geography.[6][7] In 2015, she clarified that she had not completed her doctoral studies.[8] As a student, she had been an activist for Edinburgh University Students' Association.[9][10]

Professional life

Chapman has worked in the west of Scotland in Environmental Management, and as a community carer throughout Edinburgh.[11][12]

Until June 2015 she was a lecturer in cultural geography, environmental ethics and social justice at Edinburgh Napier University.[5] She retains a role in teaching through her support for the Educational Institute of Scotland.[13]

In mid-2015 she took up a post at the Muslim Women's Resource Centre in Dundee.[14]

Political career

Chapman was first elected as a councillor for the Leith Walk ward in the 2007 City of Edinburgh Council election, becoming one of the three first Green councillors in Edinburgh. She was re-elected in 2012.[15] Later that year she became the first ever convener of the council's Petitions Committee.[16] During her time as a councillor, Chapman has advocated for causes that include: the living wage, participatory budgeting, better private tenancy rights,[17] and better support for non-profits.[18] She has also organised and voted against the privatisation of council services and cuts to services.[19] In June 2015, she announced she was standing down as a councillor, to concentrate on the Scottish Parliament election that was to be held in May 2016.[14] She was selected as the party's lead candidate for the North East region.[20]

In November 2013, she was elected unopposed as the Scottish Greens' female co-convenor, succeeding Glasgow councillor Martha Wardrop,[21] and was re-elected to the position in 2016.[20][22]

Chapman was the party's lead candidate in the 2014 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom for the Scotland constituency.[23][24] She was not elected.

Chapman is a socialist, environmentalist, anti-cuts activist, peace activist and feminist. She has been active in a number of political campaigns, including the Radical Independence Campaign.[25][26]

In September 2014, Chapman became a member of the Smith Commission into further devolution for the Scottish Parliament.[27]

She stood in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election as the party's lead candidate for the North East region but despite the Greens increasing their number of MSPs from two to six, Chapman was not elected.[28]

In 2019, she was once again selected as the party's lead candidate for the European Parliament election for the Scotland constituency.[29] She was not elected.[30]

At the 2019 Scottish Green leadership election, Chapman lost to Lorna Slater.[31]

In the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, Chapman lead the North East regional list for the Scottish Greens.[3] Her successful election to Holyrood was announced on 8 May 2021, two days after the election.[32] This made her the first Green MSP in the North East since Shiona Baird lost her seat in 2007.[33] Upon being sworn in, Chapman repeated her affirmation in Shona.[34]


In November 2014, she was elected as Rector of the University of Aberdeen after a vote by the student body of the University.[35] She was installed as rector at a ceremony in March 2015, having intimated that she would be active in the role.[36]

Chapman ran for a second term in November 2017, but the election was annulled after allegations that her supporters had torn down posters belonging to rival candidates, which Chapman and her campaign team denied. A document released by the University indicated that the election committee disagreed with the initial decision to annul the results as Chapman had not been given a right of reply to the allegations but did not overturn it. In the end, the election was re-run in February 2018. Chapman won re-election, defeating Aberdeen law student Israr Khan by a margin of 1,248 votes to 891.[37]

Personal life

Her father, Neil Chapman, was a professional classical musician.[38] She has a sister, Catherine.[38][dead link] She plays the fiddle and enjoys exploring Scotland.[39]


  1. "Maggie Chapman". Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  2. "Scottish Greens urge voters to choose 'hope over hate'". BBC. 7 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  3. "Scottish Greens to stand in 12 constituencies as party publishes full candidates' list". The National. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  4. Alexander, Michael (28 April 2016). "Scottish Election 2016: Dundee-based Green Party candidate wants to give politics a good shake-up". The Courier. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  5. "Europe Calling". Holyrood. 5 October 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  6. "More About Me". University of Edinburgh School of Geosciences. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  7. "About Maggie". Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  8. McKiernan, Jennifer (18 November 2015). "Greens apologise after error stated co-convener and Aberdeen university rector had PhD". Evening Express. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  9. Chapman, Maggie (11 November 2013). "Gender inequality in University Governance". Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  10. "Student Representation". University of Edinburgh School of Geosciences. 11 September 2006. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  11. "Bid to rename Festival Square after Nelson Mandela". Edinburgh Evening News. 7 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  12. "Green Councillors". Scottish Green Party. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  13. "Edinburgh Napier University: branch executive". Educational Institute of Scotland. Archived from the original on 14 April 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  14. Swanson, Ian (30 June 2015). "Maggie Chapman steps down as she bids to be MSP". The Scotsman. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  15. "Results for Edinburgh Elections 2012" (Press release). 4 May 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  16. "Edinburgh council introduces new petition scheme". The Journal. 24 October 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  17. "Edinburgh councillor back calls for better regulation of private landlords". STV News. 10 March 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  18. "Greens hail idea to give voters power over budget". The Scotsman. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  19. MacLeod, Michael (11 February 2011). "Edinburgh council's £90m cuts budget passes by one vote". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  20. "Maggie Chapman re-elected co-convener of Scottish Greens". BBC News. 27 November 2015.
  21. "Glasgow MSP retains Greens leader role". Evening Times. 25 November 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  22. Freeman, Tom (27 November 2015). "Maggie Chapman re-elected as Scottish Greens co-convener". Holyrood. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  23. "Elections: European". Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  24. Dunion, Gary (26 November 2012). "Maggie Chapman to run for Scotland's Euro seat". Bright Green. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  25. Gordon, Tom (24 November 2013). "Independence is a class issue ... the rich are voting no". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  26. Beaton, Connor (8 December 2013). "Scottish left talks independence in Edinburgh". The Targe. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  27. "Scottish referendum: Iain Gray to join powers commission". BBC News. 29 September 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  28. Davidson, Jenni (6 May 2016). "Greens triple MSPs but fail to top best ever result". Holyrood. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  29. "Scottish Greens' Euro candidates unveiled". 25 April 2019. Retrieved 13 May 2019 via
  30. "The UK's European elections 2019". BBC News.
  31. Learmonth, Andrew (2 August 2019). "Chapman ousted in Scottish Greens election as members vote to change co-leaders". The National.
  32. Beattie, Kieran (8 May 2021). "First north-east Green MSP elected in more than a decade". Press and Journal. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  33. Penman, Hamish (9 May 2021). "Scottish Election: North-east MSPs set out vision for energy transition". Energy Voice. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  34. "Scottish Parliament 2021: MSPs swearing in". BBC News. Retrieved 13 May 2021. Another new Green MSP is Maggie Chapman, who repeats her affirmation in Zimbabwean Shona.
  35. "Maggie Chapman named as new University of Aberdeen rector". BBC News. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  36. "University of Aberdeen rector Maggie Chapman unveiled on bull". BBC News. 23 March 2015.
  37. Williams, Martin. "Greens' Maggie Chapman overcomes 'dirty tricks' row to become Aberdeen University Rector". The Herald. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  38. "Maggie Chapman's father dies" (Press release). Scottish Greens. 26 March 2014. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  39. "Meet Maggie". Scottish Green Party. Retrieved 23 April 2014.